Archive for May, 2017

California Fish and Game Commission Sets 2017/18 Waterfowl Season Regulations

The California Fish and Game Commission, during their April 26th – 27th meeting in Van Nuys, California, adopted waterfowl season dates and regulations for the 2017/18 waterfowl season.

Regulations adopted for the Southern California Zone (which will cover San Jacinto Wildlife Area):

Ducks and Geese: October 21, 2017, through January 28, 2018.

Special Youth Hunt Days: February 3 and February 4, 2017. (San Jacinto’s Annual Youth Hunt will be February 3rd, 2016).

 Ducks: Daily bag limit: 7. Which may consist of 7 mallards, of which only 2 can be female; 1 pintail; 2 canvasbacks; 2 redheads; 3 scaup.  (Scaup may only be taken November 4th, 2017 through January 28th, 2018 – so be careful the first two weeks of the season again).

Geese: Daily bag limit: 23 of which 20 may be white geese and 3 may be dark geese.

Possession Limit Ducks and Geese: Triple the daily bag limit.

Black Brant (Although a “sea goose” I’ll add this because the last few years have seen a few Brant occasionally showing up at San Jacinto): November 9, 2017 – December 15, 2017.  Daily bag limit: 2 per day.  Possession limit triple the daily bag limit.

Regarding the “Electronic” Spinning wing decoys (AKA – mojos), there didn’t appear to be any mention of them in the new regulations summary that I could find, but I would assume that hasn’t changed so, unless I discover later that I’m wrong, the following will probably apply.  If it turns out that anything is different once the regulations are published I’ll post a correction on this…but for now…

“Electronic” Spinning wing decoys (AKA – mojos) will be allowed from November 30th until the season ends (statewide) – non-motorized / wind-powered mojos are allowed all season.

The regulations highlights which most affect San Jacinto hunters are the fact that, once again, scaup cannot be taken the first two weeks of the season. Most of the other regulations stayed the same as last season’s regulations.  The BIG change to watch out for at San Jacinto is the Pintail limit being dropped from 2 a day to 1 a day.  This will be an important regulation to keep in mind at SJ as there is usually at least a fair amount of Pintail cruising around the wildlife area for a good part of the season.  Be sure you know what a Pintail looks like in flight, as well as in hand, especially the hens, so you don’t inadvertently harvest more than one Pintail per day.

There you have it.  The regulations for the 2017/18 waterfowl season are set. The bird counts should be published shortly (as always, hope for the best), and San Jacinto Wildlife Area will have probably two or three Blind Brush-Up Volunteer Work Days scheduled in the next few months.  If you’re able, volunteering at the work days is a great way to meet other hunters that frequent San Jacinto and to learn the layout of the area and just see what’s going on at SJ.  When the Blind Brush-up Work Days are scheduled SoCalHunt will post an announcement of the dates and times.

I probably don’t have to mention this as you probably already know, unless you were living under a rock out of state, that the end of this past season produced some significant rain…finally.  Something we’ve been needing for a few years.  It pretty much destroyed access to San Jacinto via Davis Road and the last several hunt days of the 2016/17 season it was a challenge to even get to the SJ Check Station.  However, the good news is that Davis Road has been repaired, so access shouldn’t be a problem anymore, and, even better, Mystic Lake is back!  It appears to be about half full and should survive the summer, with guestimates that it will be about a quarter full by the start of the season (assuming there’s no more significant rain before then).  This will give the waterfowl a place to rest and even more of an attraction for them to utilize the wildlife area. Also, on hunt days there will be a place they can retreat to, after the initial volley at shoot time, that is close enough that they will normally trade back and forth to the ponds throughout the day giving hunters several opportunities instead of just the morning shoot.

This above information is provided as a general guide only. As of this report, the formal regulations have not been updated on the DFW web site yet but should be up soon.  You can check for the 2017/18 regulations at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife website at:

…or printed regulation book (available soon at most license agent locations) for official information and/or for regulations in other waterfowl zones in the state.

Until it is updated, and/or until the reg. books are at the license agent locations, you can check the Waterfowl Regulations Summary at:

Much Accomplished on the Volunteer Work Day, Saturday May 13th, at San Jacinto

On Saturday, May 13th, about a dozen volunteers, along with the San Jacinto Wildlife Area staff, gathered in the check station parking lot at 6:00 AM for the much-delayed volunteer clean-up day.  Due to the access problems on Davis Road Tom couldn’t schedule this work day as early as usual but now that Davis Road has been repaired access is no longer a problem.

Tom advised the assembled volunteers the good news that it appears that the Riverside County Department of Transportation is intending on doing more work on Davis Road, hopefully, to perfect the drainage and prevent the type of damage the road suffered this past season from happening again.  Tom said they were out surveying the road just recently.

One problem that the delay in this work day created was that we weren’t able to go out to the blinds and do the clean-up we were expecting to do.  Since we are now well into the nesting season on the wildlife area there are too many ground nesting birds nesting around the blind areas and it was feared our activities might inadvertently damage some nests and eggs.

However, the day was not a waste by any means.  Two of the volunteers, Terry and Frank, volunteered to stucco the new wall surrounding the restroom building and brought their tools and expertise to accomplish this.  There were also areas around the check station that needed to be cleared of weeds and rocks and leveled in preparation for gravel that will be brought in to cover the area.  With the assembled man (and woman) power these tasks were accomplished in short order.

Stucco Work

Leveling around the walkways

I was able to get out into the wildlife area and check things out before we left.  SJ, as usual, looks great.  There is a lot of food growing and a lot of birds, ducks and other types, using the area.  And, great news, Mystic Lake is back and appears to be big enough that it should still be around by the time the season opens again.  If history holds true Mystic should be a game changer for SJ and will improve hunting there quite a bit.

Eared Greb

Tri-colored Blackbird


Duck Food!

Mystic Lake

SJ Scenery, Beautiful as Usual

After the work was completed the SJ Staff and the volunteers met at George’s Pizza on Florida Street in Hemet for a well-deserved lunch before they parted ways for the day.  The San Jacinto Staff and the volunteers would like to say thank you to the owners of George’s Pizza for generously providing lunch today after our work day with the best pizza in town! Thank you for all your support.

The Staff at San Jacinto would like to extend a big thanks to everyone that came out and worked hard to clean up good old SJ.  Also, a special thanks to volunteers Terry and Frank for their expertise and great work on the wall today.

The Volunteers and George and his Wife From George’s Pizza (Thanks again for the Pizza!)

Tom told me he’s going to schedule another Blind Clean-up Day after the nesting season is over so we can get out there and do the necessary clean-up.  That will likely be in late June or early July.  As soon as the date is set we’ll announce it here at SoCalHunt.

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